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Getting older makes one appreciate each day

March 27, 2009
By James P. Whipple

Getting older is not a dramatic as it seems. Books, plays and movies have left an impression that getting older is like a speeding train in the middle of the night rushing toward its final stop.

TV news shows both extremes of old age either the person is in the best of health and lived a saintly life or they have grown old and sick and crippled and their minds are almost gone. There is a huge group in the middle of these two extremes that are rarely talked about to use an old political term the people in the middle are the silent majority of senior citizens.

When I was growing up family members took care of other family members. The younger generation took care of the older generation. Now there are several billion-dollar industries that have places to live and treat the older generation as well as products that take care of the elderly. You are told through ads that it's for the good of everyone. The old folks receive top care, the children have a peace of mind knowing that the love ones are being cared for, and every body lives happily ever after.

Oh if life could be that simple, but it isn't. I believe that growing old and being old is just a complicated as growing up and being young.

No two stories of growing older are exactly the same. I notice there have been several studies done over the years about aging, and some try to put the different characteristics of getting older into different formulas. Others use these formulas to create public policy about aging. We could debate these issues and respectfully argue our points the rest of our lives. Needless to say we are all getting older.

There are a few observations that I have noticed traveling the road from middle age to old age that I would like to share with you.

First, I am not sure what the definition of old age is any more. I saw on television the other day people were celebration the birthdays of people who were from 101 to 109 years old. By that standard, I am still about middle age.

Second, As I have gotten older I ask myself a question: "How much differently do I feel now than when I was 21?" And the answer is simply that, except for some aches and pains, I feel pretty much the way I did when I started this journey.

Third, I am lucky that I still have control over my own destiny. I feel this is important because in a lot of situations older people trade off their independence. I know some have to out of necessity or illness; others make a choice.

Last, let me say that as I have gotten older in someway I have become a living history book, which I enjoy because it allows me to keep meeting new people. Talking to kids today is a lot of fun because they really want to know about the past and I, by talking with them about the past, get to see and learn what the future might look like.

So as time goes by I feel a sense of contentment; I have survived life to an older age, and I find a new fulfillment in each new day that comes my way.

 
 
 

 

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